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The WSET Honors the Most Graduates Ever and the First Female Master of Wine on Monday


Leading US Wine Educator Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW of New York Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

London, England (January 22, 2019) – Hosted by WSET Honorary President Steven Spurrier along with Chief Executive Ian Harris at London’s historic Guildhall, the 2019 Awards & Graduation Ceremony was attended to by over 500 wine and spirits professionals and industry influencers from around the globe on Monday, January 21st. Since the WSET was found in 1969, the event also marked the first celebration of the WSET’s 50th Anniversary programming that will continue with special events and activations throughout the year.

Having grown every year from the original 84 Diploma graduates in 1970, this year the WSET saw the largest ever graduating class of Diploma candidates with 532 new graduates honored, which represents a 21% increase over 2018. The number of US graduates grew from 53 last year to 68 this year. Over the last 50 years, the WSET has expanded around the world and this year graduates came from over 40 countries—ranging from Chile to South Korea to Croatia.

L-R: Mary Ewing-Mulligan receiving her Lifetime Achievement Award with Steven Spurrier & Ian Harris; Ian Harris addressing the event’s attendees.

Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW was presented with the WSET’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her trailblazing work in wine education in the US. She distinguished herself early in her career as the first woman in North America to earn the title of Master of Wine. She went on to become one of the leading US wine educators and the Owner/President of the International Wine Center in New York, NY. Of receiving the award, Mary says, “I am honored beyond words. When I introduced WSET courses to the US in 1994, it was because I believed they could change the face of wine and spirits education. After almost 25 years of promotion the WSET’s expansion across the US, my early hopes have come to fruition.”

“We are delighted to honor Mary with this award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the development and growth of WSET in the USA,” says Ian Harris. “Today we not only congratulate all our scholarship and award winners as well as the largest class of Diploma graduates, but also mark the start of our 50th year providing education and qualifications in wine and spirits. With over 750 Approved Program Providers (APPs) and three offices across the world, WSET’s global presence is stronger than ever. We will use our 50th anniversary to continue to inspire and support wine and spirits professionals and enthusiasts worldwide. We are confident that we will be celebrating the success of WSET students for another 50 years and beyond.”

The following US candidates were also honored with awards for outstanding results in the WSET Level 4 Award in Wines Diploma exam:

  • Corissa Funk from Chicago, IL is the winner of the Wine Trade Club Paten Prize. The award grants her the funds to study a wine or spirit producing region. Corissa is a freelance wine trade professional.
  • Katy Long from Santa Rosa, CA is the winner of The Sandeman Port Prize, sponsored by Sogrape, for being a student working the US trade who achieved outstanding results in the Fortified Wines section of the exam. She will receive a trip to Portugal during harvest to participate in the Sandeman Port Wine Seminar. Katy is a Senior Marketing Manager and Vintage Wine Estates Brand Advocate.
  • Yuri Shima from San Francisco, CA is the winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition Prize. She received a trophy as well as funds to study a wine or spirits region of her choice. Yuri is a wine educator and columnist for Forbes Japan alongside her career as a lawyer.
  • Trent Stewart from Alabama is the winner of the Republic National Distributing Company Prize for students working in the US wine and spirits trade. He will receive a study trip to Atlanta hosted by RNDC. Trent is a Sales Representative at Grassroots Wine Wholesalers.

The other key WSET 2019 award winners were:

  • Vintners’ Cup (the student who achieves the highest overall mark across all units of the Diploma each year): Joseph Hallam from the UK
  • Riedel Trophy for WSET Educator of the Year: West London Wine School
  • Outstanding Alumni Award (sponsored by JancisRobinson.com): Caro Maurer MW from Germany

See the full list of graduates and award winners on the dedicated microsite here. To learn more about WSET courses and find a local Approved Program Provider visit wsetglobal.com.

About the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)

WSET is the largest global provider of qualifications in the field of wines, spirits and sake. WSET offers qualifications across four levels, from one-day beginner courses through to an expert level diploma. Courses are available in more than 15 languages and over 70 countries and are open both to industry professionals and interested enthusiasts. Qualification levels 1 to 3 are recognised by the UK Government (Ofqual) and all WSET qualifications have a strong reputation worldwide as the industry standard for knowledge. In the last academic year (2017/18) 94,822 candidates sat for a WSET qualification, and since 1969, WSET has awarded more than half a million individuals a WSET qualification. For more information about WSET, please visit www.WSETglobal.com.